Skip to navigation Skip to content Skip to subnav
Searching 2021-2022 Session

The Vermont Statutes Online

 

Title 20: Internal Security and Public Safety

Chapter 151: VERMONT CRIMINAL JUSTICE COUNCIL

  • Subchapter 001: General Provisions
  • § 2351. Creation and purpose of Council

    (a) In order to promote and protect the health, safety, and welfare of the public, it is in the public interest to provide for the creation of the Vermont Criminal Justice Council.

    (b) The Council is created to:

    (1) encourage and assist municipalities, counties, and governmental agencies of this State in their efforts to improve the quality of law enforcement and citizen protection by maintaining a uniform standard of basic training for law enforcement applicants and in-service training for law enforcement officers; and

    (2) maintain statewide standards of law enforcement officer professional conduct by accepting and tracking complaints alleging officer unprofessional conduct, adjudicating charges of unprofessional conduct, and imposing sanctions on the certification of an officer who the Council finds has committed unprofessional conduct.

    (c) The Council shall offer and approve continuing programs of instruction in up-to-date methods of law enforcement and the administration of criminal justice.

    (d) It is the responsibility of the Council to encourage the participation of local governmental units in the program and to aid in the establishment of adequate training facilities. (Added 1967, No. 189, § 1, eff. April 17, 1967; amended 1973, No. 225 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; 1979, No. 57, § 1; 1981, No. 104, § 2; 2011, No. 103 (Adj. Sess.), § 3; 2013, No. 141 (Adj. Sess.), § 1, eff. July 1, 2015; 2017, No. 56, § 1; 2019, No. 166 (Adj. Sess.), § 3, eff. Oct. 1, 2020.)

  • § 2351a. Definitions

    As used in this chapter:

    (1) "Executive officer" means the highest-ranking law enforcement officer of a law enforcement agency.

    (2) "Law enforcement agency" means the employer of a law enforcement officer.

    (3) "Law enforcement officer" means a member of the Department of Public Safety who exercises law enforcement powers; a member of the State Police; a Capitol Police officer; a municipal police officer; a constable who exercises law enforcement powers; a motor vehicle inspector; an employee of the Department of Liquor and Lottery who exercises law enforcement powers; an investigator employed by the Secretary of State; a Board of Medical Practice investigator employed by the Department of Health; an investigator employed by the Attorney General or a State's Attorney; a fish and game warden; a sheriff; a deputy sheriff who exercises law enforcement powers; a railroad police officer commissioned pursuant to 5 V.S.A. chapter 68, subchapter 8; a police officer appointed to the University of Vermont's Department of Police Services; or the provost marshal or assistant provost marshal of the Vermont National Guard.

    (4) "Off-site training" means training provided off the premises of a law enforcement officer training school and approved by the Council under the provisions of section 2355 of this chapter. (Added 2017, No. 56, § 1; amended 2019, No. 73, § 31; 2019, No. 130 (Adj. Sess.), § 2.)

  • § 2352. Council membership

    (a)(1) The Vermont Criminal Justice Council shall consist of:

    (A) the Commissioners of Public Safety, of Corrections, of Motor Vehicles, of Fish and Wildlife, and of Mental Health;

    (B) the Attorney General;

    (C) the Executive Director of the Department of State's Attorneys and Sheriffs;

    (D) the Executive Director of Racial Equity;

    (E) a member of the Vermont Troopers' Association or its successor entity, elected by its membership;

    (F) a member of the Vermont Police Association, elected by its membership;

    (G) a member of the Chiefs of Police Association of Vermont, appointed by the President of the Association;

    (H) a member of the Vermont Sheriffs' Association, appointed by the President of the Association;

    (I) a law enforcement officer, appointed by the President of the Vermont State Employees Association;

    (J) an employee of the Vermont League of Cities and Towns, appointed by the Executive Director of the League;

    (K) an individual appointed by the Executive Director of the Center for Crime Victim Services;

    (L) an individual appointed by the Executive Director of the Human Rights Commission;

    (M) an individual appointed by the Executive Director of the Vermont Network Against Domestic and Sexual Violence; and

    (N) seven public members, appointed by the Governor, who shall not be law enforcement officers or have a spouse, parent, child, or sibling who is a law enforcement officer, current legislators, or otherwise be employed in the criminal justice system.

    (i) At least one of these members shall be a mental health crisis worker.

    (ii) At least one of these members shall be an individual with a lived experience of a mental health condition or psychiatric disability.

    (iii) At least two of these members shall be chosen from among persons nominated by the Vermont chapters of the NAACP, and each of these members shall represent a different Vermont NAACP chapter. In order to assist the Governor in making these appointments, each Vermont chapter of the NAACP shall nominate at least three individuals for these gubernatorial appointments.

    (2) A member's term shall be three years.

    (3) The Governor shall appoint the Chair of the Council from among the members set forth in subdivisions (1)(D) and (K)-(N) of this subsection.

    (b) Membership on the Council does not constitute the holding of an office for any purpose, and members of the Council shall not be required to take and file oaths of office before serving on the Council.

    (c) The members of the Council shall be entitled to receive per diem compensation and reimbursement of expenses as permitted under 32 V.S.A. § 1010 from monies appropriated to the Council.

    (d) A member of the Council shall not be disqualified from holding any public office or employment, and shall not forfeit any office or employment, by reason of his or her appointment to the Council, notwithstanding any statute, ordinance, or charter to the contrary. (Added 1967, No. 189, § 2, eff. April 17, 1967; amended 1971, No. 120, § 46(a); 1973, No. 225 (Adj. Sess.), § 2; 1979, No. 57, § 2; 1983, No. 72; 2003, No. 119 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; 2013, No. 141 (Adj. Sess.), § 2; 2017, No. 56, § 1; 2019, No. 166 (Adj. Sess.), § 4, eff. Dec. 1, 2020.)

  • § 2353. Repealed. 1973, No. 225 (Adj. Sess.), § 8.

  • § 2354. Council meetings

    (a) The Council shall meet at least once in each quarter of each year. Special meetings may be called by the Chair or upon the written request of six members of the Council.

    (b) The Council shall adopt rules as to quorum and procedures with respect to the conduct of its meetings and other affairs.

    (c)(1) A member may designate in writing a person within his or her agency or association to attend a meeting or meetings of the Council. The designation shall be filed with the Chair of the Council.

    (2) A person so designated shall have the same voting rights and responsibilities as the member at such meeting or meetings, but that designee shall not automatically assume the member's place as an officer of the Council. (Added 1967, No. 189, § 4, eff. April 17, 1967; amended 1971, No. 120, § 46(b); 1973, No. 225 (Adj. Sess.), § 3; 1979, No. 57, § 3; 1991, No. 50, § 72a, eff. June 12, 1991; 2017, No. 56, § 1.)

  • § 2355. Council powers and duties

    (a) The Council shall adopt rules with respect to:

    (1) the approval, or revocation thereof, of law enforcement officer training schools and off-site training programs, which shall include rules to identify and implement alternate routes to certification aside from the training provided at the Vermont Police Academy;

    (2) minimum courses of study, attendance requirements, and equipment and facilities to be required at approved law enforcement officer training schools and off-site training programs;

    (3) minimum qualifications for instructors at approved law enforcement officer training schools and off-site training programs;

    (4) minimum basic training for law enforcement officers in each level of law enforcement officer certification and the time within which that training shall be completed;

    (5) [Repealed.]

    (6) minimum annual in-service training requirements for law enforcement officers in each level of law enforcement officer certification;

    (7) minimum courses of training for other criminal justice personnel;

    (8) categories or classifications of advanced in-service training programs and minimum courses of study and attendance requirements with respect to those categories or classifications;

    (9) recertification of persons who have not been employed as law enforcement officers for a three-year period;

    (10) a definition of criminal justice personnel and criminal justice training for purposes of this title; and

    (11) [Repealed.]

    (12) permitting its Executive Director to grant up to a 60-day waiver to a law enforcement officer who has failed to meet his or her annual in-service training requirements but who is able to complete those training requirements within the time period permitted by the Executive Director.

    (b)(1) The Council shall conduct and administer training schools and offer courses of instruction for law enforcement officers and other criminal justice personnel. The Council shall offer courses of instruction for law enforcement officers in different areas of the State and shall strive to offer nonovernight courses whenever possible.

    (2) The Council may also offer the basic officer's course for preservice students and educational outreach courses for the public, including firearms safety and use of force.

    (c)(1) The Council shall appoint, subject to the approval of the Governor, an Executive Director who shall be an exempt State employee, and who shall hold office during the pleasure of the Council.

    (2)(A) The Executive Director shall perform such duties as may be assigned by the Council.

    (B) The Executive Director may appoint officers, employees, agents, and consultants as he or she may deem necessary and prescribe their duties, with the approval of the Council.

    (3) The Executive Director is entitled to compensation as established by law and reimbursement for expenses within the amounts available by appropriation.

    (d) The Council may, in addition:

    (1) accept and administer under this chapter and for its purposes contributions, capital grants, gifts, services, and other financial assistance from any individual, association, corporation, or other organization having an interest in criminal justice training, and from this State and the United States and any of their agencies and instrumentalities, corporate or otherwise; and

    (2) perform such other acts as may be necessary or appropriate to carry out the purposes of this chapter.

    (e) Any agency or department of State, county, or municipal government may, notwithstanding any provision of this chapter, engage in and pay for, from sums appropriated for that purpose, training activities for employees in addition to any minimum training required by the Council.

    (f) The Council shall charge participants or employers of participants in law enforcement training programs as follows:

    (1) The tuition fees for any of the basic training or annual in-service training required under section 2358 of this chapter shall be set forth in rules adopted by the Council. The tuition fees shall be set to reflect the actual costs for operation of the particular programs offered. The fees for basic training shall not be charged for persons employed by police agencies at the time of training.

    (2) The tuition fees for training not required under section 2358 of this chapter shall be set to reflect the actual costs for operation of the particular programs offered, with an additional $30.00 entrance exam fee assessed on all training, except educational outreach courses for the public.

    (g) The Council shall develop and maintain a comprehensive drug training program. (Added 1967, No. 189, § 5, eff. April 17, 1967; amended 1971, No. 120, § 46(b), (c); 1973, No. 225 (Adj. Sess.), § 4; 1979, No. 57, § 4; 1987, No. 34, §§ 1, 2; 1993, No. 210 (Adj. Sess.), § 68; 1997, No. 61, § 70; 1999, No. 49, § 185; 2005, No. 72, § 6; 2007, No. 153 (Adj. Sess.), § 11; 2013, No. 141 (Adj. Sess.), § 3, eff. July 1, 2015; 2017, No. 56, § 1; 2019, No. 166 (Adj. Sess.), § 6, eff. Oct. 1, 2020.)

  • § 2356. Repealed. 1979, No. 57, § 13(1).

  • § 2357. Powers and duties of the Executive Director

    The Executive Director of the Council, on behalf of the Council, shall have the following powers and duties, subject to the supervision of the Council and to be exercised only in accordance with rules adopted under this chapter:

    (1) to approve, on applications made in advance, criminal justice personnel training programs and their lesson plans and instructors, to issue certificates of approval to those programs, and to revoke those approvals or certificates;

    (2) to certify, as qualified, instructors at approved criminal justice personnel training schools and to issue appropriate certificates to those instructors;

    (3) to certify criminal justice personnel who have satisfactorily completed approved training programs and to issue appropriate certificates to them;

    (4) to cause studies and surveys to be made relating to the establishment, operation, and approval of criminal justice training schools;

    (5) to consult and cooperate with law enforcement officer criminal justice training schools:

    (A) to recommend a course of study in crime prevention for law enforcement students; and

    (B) for the development of advanced in-service training programs for law enforcement officers, which shall include a course of study on crime prevention;

    (6) to consult and cooperate with universities, colleges, and institutes for the development of specialized courses of study including a course of study on crime prevention, where appropriate;

    (7) to consult and cooperate with other departments and agencies of the State and federal government concerned with criminal justice personnel training;

    (8) [Repealed.]

    (9) to perform such other acts as may be necessary or appropriate to carry out his or her powers and duties as set forth in this chapter;

    (10) to report to the Council at each regular meeting of the Council and at such other times as may be required; and

    (11) to approve and accept pre-service and military students for any of the basic training courses set forth in section 2358 of this chapter. (Added 1967, No. 189, § 7, eff. April 17, 1967; amended 1969, No. 282 (Adj. Sess.), § 4; 1971, No. 120, § 46(b); 1973, No. 225 (Adj. Sess.), § 6; 1979, No. 57, § 5; 1993, No. 210 (Adj. Sess.), § 68; 2013, No. 141 (Adj. Sess.), § 4, eff. July 1, 2015.)

  • § 2358. Minimum training standards; definitions

    (a) Unless waived by the Council under standards adopted by rule, and notwithstanding any statute or charter to the contrary, no person shall exercise law enforcement authority as a law enforcement officer without completing a basic training course and annual in-service training within a time and manner prescribed by the Council by rule.

    (b) The Council shall offer or approve basic training and annual in-service training for each of the following three levels of law enforcement officer certification in accordance with the scope of practice for each level, and shall determine by rule the scope of practice for each level in accordance with the provisions of this section:

    (1) Level I certification.

    (A) An applicant for certification as a Level I law enforcement officer shall first complete an off-site training program prior to entering and completing Level I basic training. Level I basic training shall include training to react to the circumstances described in subdivision (B) of this subdivision (1).

    (B)(i) The scope of practice of a Level I law enforcement officer shall be limited to security, transport, vehicle escorts, and traffic control, as those terms are defined by the Council, except that a Level I officer may react in the following circumstances if the officer determines that it is necessary to do any of the following:

    (I) protect an individual in the presence of the officer from the imminent infliction of serious bodily injury;

    (II) provide immediate assistance to an individual who has suffered or is threatened with serious bodily injury;

    (III) detain or arrest an individual who the officer reasonably believes has committed a crime in the presence of the officer; or

    (IV) detain or arrest an individual who the officer reasonably believes has committed a felony under Vermont law.

    (ii) If a Level I officer reacts to any of the circumstances described in subdivision (i) of this subdivision (B), he or she shall call upon an officer certified to respond and assume law enforcement authority over the incident.

    (2) Level II certification.

    (A) An applicant for certification as a Level II law enforcement officer shall first complete Level II basic training and may then become certified in a specialized practice area as set forth in subdivision (B)(ii) of this subdivision (2). Level II basic training shall include training to respond to calls regarding alleged crimes in progress and to react to the circumstances described in subdivision (B)(iii) of this subdivision (2).

    (B)(i) Except as provided in subdivisions (ii) and (iii) of this subdivision (B), the scope of practice of a Level II law enforcement officer shall be limited to investigating the following matters:

    (I) [Repealed.]

    (II) 7 V.S.A. § 658 (sale or furnishing to minors; enabling consumption by minors);

    (III) 13 V.S.A. chapter 7 (advertisements);

    (IV) 13 V.S.A. chapter 8 (humane and proper treatment of animals);

    (V) 13 V.S.A. §§ 505 (fourth degree arson), 508 (setting fires), and 509 (attempts);

    (VI) 13 V.S.A. chapter 19, subchapter 1 (riots);

    (VII) 13 V.S.A. §§ 1022 (noise in the nighttime), 1023 (simple assault), 1025 (recklessly endangering another person), 1026 (disorderly conduct), 1026a (aggravated disorderly conduct), 1027 (disturbing peace by use of telephone or other electronic communications), 1030 (violation of an abuse prevention order, an order against stalking or sexual assault, or a protective order concerning contact with a child), 1031 (interference with access to emergency services), 1042 (domestic assault), and 1062 (stalking);

    (VIII) 13 V.S.A. chapter 35 (escape);

    (IX) 13 V.S.A. chapter 41 (false alarms and reports);

    (X) 13 V.S.A. chapter 45 (flags and ensigns);

    (XI) 13 V.S.A. chapter 47 (frauds);

    (XII) 13 V.S.A. chapter 49 (fraud in commercial transactions);

    (XIII) 13 V.S.A. chapter 51 (gambling and lotteries);

    (XIV) 13 V.S.A. chapter 57 (larceny and embezzlement), except for subchapter 2 (embezzlement);

    (XV) 13 V.S.A. chapter 67 (public justice and public officers);

    (XVI) 13 V.S.A. chapter 69 (railroads);

    (XVII) 13 V.S.A. chapter 77 (trees and plants);

    (XVIII) 13 V.S.A. chapter 81 (trespass and malicious injuries to property);

    (XIX) 13 V.S.A. chapter 83 (vagrants);

    (XX) 13 V.S.A. chapter 85 (weapons);

    (XXI) 13 V.S.A. § 7559(d), (e), and (f) (violating condition of release);

    (XXII) 18 V.S.A. §§ 4230(a) and 4230d (cannabis possession);

    (XXIII) 18 V.S.A. § 4231(a) (cocaine possession);

    (XXIV) 18 V.S.A. § 4232(a) (LSD possession);

    (XXV) 18 V.S.A. § 4233(a) (heroin possession);

    (XXVI) 18 V.S.A. § 4234(a) (depressant, stimulant, or narcotic drug possession);

    (XXVII) 18 V.S.A. § 4234a(a) (methamphetamine possession);

    (XXVIII) 18 V.S.A. § 4235(b) (hallucinogenic drug possession);

    (XXIX) 18 V.S.A. § 4235a(a) (ecstasy possession);

    (XXX) 18 V.S.A. § 4476 (drug paraphernalia offenses);

    (XXXI) 20 V.S.A. § 3132 (firework prohibitions);

    (XXXII) 21 V.S.A. § 692(c)(2) (criminal violation of stop-work order);

    (XXXIII) any misdemeanor set forth in Title 23 of the Vermont Statutes Annotated, except for 23 V.S.A. chapter 13, subchapter 13 (drunken driving), 23 V.S.A. § 3207a (snowmobiling under the influence), 23 V.S.A. § 3323 (boating under the influence), or 23 V.S.A. § 3506(b)(8) (operating an all-terrain vehicle under the influence);

    (XXXIV) any motor vehicle accident that includes property damage and injuries, as permitted by the Council by rule;

    (XXXV) any matter within the jurisdiction of the Judicial Bureau as set forth in 4 V.S.A. § 1102;

    (XXXVI) municipal ordinance violations;

    (XXXVII) any matter within the jurisdiction of a game warden or deputy game warden as set forth in 10 V.S.A. chapter 103, subchapter 4 (game wardens); and

    (XXXVIII) any matter within the scope of practice of a Level I law enforcement officer.

    (ii) In addition to the scope of practice permitted under subdivision (i) of this subdivision (B), a Level II law enforcement officer may also practice in additional areas approved in writing by the Council based on a special certification or training approved by the Council.

    (iii) Notwithstanding the limitations set forth in subdivisions (i) and (ii) of this subdivision (B), a Level II officer may respond to calls regarding alleged crimes in progress and may react in the following circumstances if the officer determines that it is necessary to do any of the following:

    (I) protect an individual in the presence of the officer from the imminent infliction of serious bodily injury;

    (II) provide immediate assistance to an individual who has suffered or is threatened with serious bodily injury;

    (III) detain or arrest an individual who the officer reasonably believes has committed a crime in the presence of the officer; or

    (IV) detain or arrest an individual who the officer reasonably believes has committed a felony under Vermont law.

    (iv) If a Level II officer responds to calls regarding alleged crimes in progress or reacts to any of the circumstances described in subdivision (iii) of this subdivision (B) and that response or reaction is outside the scope of his or her scope of practice, he or she shall call upon an officer certified to respond and assume law enforcement authority over the incident.

    (3) Level III certification.

    (A) An applicant for certification as a Level III law enforcement officer shall complete Level III basic training.

    (B) The scope of practice of a Level III law enforcement officer shall include all law enforcement authority.

    (c)(1) All programs required by this section shall be approved by the Council.

    (2) The Council shall structure its programs so that on and after July 1, 2021, a Level II certified officer may use portfolio experiential learning or College Level Examination Program (CLEP) testing in order to transition to Level III certification, without such an officer needing to restart the certification process.

    (3) Completion of a program shall be established by a certificate to that effect signed by the Executive Director of the Council.

    (d) [Repealed.]

    (e)(1) The criteria for all minimum training standards under this section shall include anti-bias training approved by the Vermont Criminal Justice Council and training on the State, county, or municipal law enforcement agency's fair and impartial policing policy, adopted pursuant to subsection 2366(a) of this title.

    (2) On or before December 31, 2018, law enforcement officers shall receive a minimum of four hours of training as required by this subsection.

    (3) In order to remain certified, law enforcement officers shall receive a refresher course on the training required by this subsection during every odd-numbered year in a program approved by the Vermont Criminal Justice Council.

    (4) The Criminal Justice Council shall, on an annual basis, report to the Racial Disparities in the Criminal and Juvenile Justice System Advisory Panel regarding:

    (A) the adoption and implementation of the Panel's recommended data collection methods and trainings and policies pursuant to 3 V.S.A. § 168(f)(2) and (3);

    (B) the incorporation of implicit bias training into the requirements of basic training pursuant to this subsection; and

    (C) the implementation of all trainings as required by this subsection.

    (f) The criteria for all minimum training standards under this section shall include Advanced Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement training as approved by the Vermont Criminal Justice Council. On or before December 31, 2021, law enforcement officers shall receive a minimum of 16 hours of training as required by this subsection.

    (g) The Council shall not offer or approve any training on the use of a prohibited restraint as defined in section 2401 of this chapter, except for training designed to identify and prevent the use of prohibited restraints. (Added 1967, No. 189, § 8, eff. April 17, 1967; amended 1969, No. 282 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; 1971, No. 120, § 46(b); 1973, No. 225 (Adj. Sess.), § 7; 1979, No. 57, § 6; 1981, No. 104, § 3; 1981, No. 118 (Adj. Sess.), eff. Feb. 19, 1982; 1987, No. 34, § 3; 1989, No. 297 (Adj. Sess.), § 2; 2003, No. 60, § 4; 2007, No. 195 (Adj. Sess.), § 8, eff. July 1, 2010; 2011, No. 103 (Adj. Sess.), § 4; 2011, No. 134 (Adj. Sess.), § 3; 2013, No. 141 (Adj. Sess.), § 5, eff. July 1, 2015; 2015, No. 62, § 6; 2015, No. 118 (Adj. Sess.), § 4, eff. May 23, 2016; 2015, No. 147 (Adj. Sess.), §§ 14, 25, eff. May 31, 2016; 2017, No. 54, § 2, eff. May 31, 2017; 2017, No. 56, § 1; 2017, No. 83, § 150; 2019, No. 164 (Adj. Sess.), § 20, eff. Oct. 7, 2020; 2019, No. 165 (Adj. Sess.), § 4a, eff. Oct. 7, 2020; 2019, No. 166 (Adj. Sess.), § 7, eff. Oct. 1, 2020.)

  • § 2359. Council services contingent on agency compliance

    (a) On and after January 1, 2022, a law enforcement agency shall be prohibited from having its law enforcement applicants or officers trained by the Police Academy or from otherwise using the services of the Council if the agency is not in compliance with the requirements for collecting roadside stop data under section 2366 of this chapter, the requirement to report to the Office of Attorney General death or serious bodily injuries under 18 V.S.A. § 7257a(b), or the requirement to adopt, follow, or enforce any policy required under this chapter.

    (b) The Council shall adopt procedures to enforce the requirements of this section, which may allow for waivers for agencies under a plan to obtain compliance with this section. (Added 2019, No. 166 (Adj. Sess.), § 9, eff. Oct. 1, 2020.)

  • § 2360. Repealed. 1971, No. 7, § 3.

  • § 2361. Additional training

    (a) Nothing in this chapter prohibits any law enforcement agency from providing additional training beyond basic training to its personnel where no certification is requested of or required by the Council or its Executive Director.

    (b) The executive officer of a law enforcement agency may seek certification from the Council for any in-service training he, she, or his or her designee may provide to law enforcement officers of his or her agency or of another agency, or both. (Added 1979, No. 57, § 7; amended 2013, No. 141 (Adj. Sess.), § 6, eff. July 1, 2015; 2019, No. 166 (Adj. Sess.), § 10, eff. Oct. 1, 2020.)

  • § 2362. Reports

    (a) Within ten business days:

    (1) Elected constables. A town, village, or city clerk shall notify the Council, on a form provided by the Council, of the election, appointment to fill a vacancy under 24 V.S.A. § 963, expiration of term, or reelection of any constable.

    (2) Appointed constables and police chiefs. The legislative body of a municipality or its designee shall notify the Council of the appointment or removal of a constable or police chief.

    (3) Municipal police officers. A police chief appointed under 24 V.S.A. § 1931 shall notify the Council of the appointment or removal of a police officer under the police chief's direction and control.

    (4) State law enforcement officers. The appointing authority of a State agency employing a law enforcement officer shall notify the Council of the appointment or removal of a law enforcement officer employed by that agency.

    (5) Sheriffs' officers. A sheriff shall notify the Council of the appointment or removal of a deputy or other law enforcement officer employed by that sheriff's department.

    (b) Notification required by this section shall include the name of the constable, police chief, police officer, deputy, or other law enforcement officer, the date of appointment or removal, and the term of office or length of appointment, if any.

    (c) A report required by this section may be combined with any report required under subchapter 2 of this chapter. (Added 1979, No. 57, § 8; amended 2009, No. 14, § 1; 2017, No. 56, § 1, eff. July 1, 2018.)

  • § 2362a. Potential hiring agency; duty to contact current or former agency

    (a)(1) Prior to hiring a law enforcement officer, the executive officer of a potential hiring law enforcement agency shall:

    (A) require that officer to execute a written waiver that explicitly authorizes the officer's:

    (i) current law enforcement agency employer to disclose its analysis of the officer's performance at that agency, if the officer is still employed at that agency; or

    (ii) last law enforcement agency employer to disclose the reason that officer is no longer employed by that agency, if the officer is not currently employed at an agency; and

    (B) contact that agency to obtain that disclosure and provide to that agency a copy of that written waiver.

    (2) An officer who refuses to execute the written waiver shall not be hired by the potential hiring agency.

    (b)(1)(A) If that current or former agency is a law enforcement agency in this State, the executive officer of that current or former agency or designee shall disclose to the potential hiring agency in writing its analysis of the officer's performance at that agency or the reason the officer is no longer employed by the former agency, as applicable.

    (B) The executive officer or designee shall send a copy of the disclosure to the officer at the same time he or she sends it to the potential hiring agency.

    (2) Such a current or former agency shall be immune from liability for its disclosure described in subdivision (1) of this subsection, unless such disclosure would constitute intentional misrepresentation or gross negligence.

    (c) A potential hiring agency that receives a disclosure under subsection (b) of this section shall keep the contents of that disclosure confidential.

    (d) A collective bargaining agreement between a law enforcement agency and the exclusive representative or bargaining agent of the law enforcement officers employed by that agency shall not include a prohibition on the exchange of information between the employing agency and another agency about an officer's performance at the employing agency. (Added 2017, No. 56, § 1; amended 2019, No. 166 (Adj. Sess.), § 11, eff. Oct. 1, 2020.)

  • § 2363. Repealed. 2011, No. 63, § E.221.

  • § 2364. State police, basic training

    Basic training programs for Vermont state police officers, including curriculum, location, duration, and selection of instructors and other personnel, shall be developed and conducted by the commissioner of public safety and submitted to the criminal justice training council for approval in accordance with the minimum standards promulgated by rule under this chapter. (Added 1979, No. 57, § 17.)

  • § 2365. Domestic violence training

    (a) In order to remain certified, law enforcement officers shall receive by 2011 at least eight hours of domestic violence training in a program approved by the Vermont Criminal Justice Council and the Vermont Network Against Domestic and Sexual Violence.

    (b) Law enforcement officers shall receive domestic violence retraining every two years in a program approved by the Vermont Criminal Justice Council.

    (c) The Vermont Police Academy shall employ a domestic violence trainer for the sole purpose of training Vermont law enforcement and related practitioners on issues related to domestic violence. Funding for this position shall be transferred by the Center for Crime Victim Services from the Domestic and Sexual Violence Special Fund created by 13 V.S.A. § 5360. (Added 2007, No. 174 (Adj. Sess.), § 15; amended 2009, No. 156 (Adj. Sess.), § E.220.1, eff. June 3, 2010; 2011, No. 162 (Adj. Sess.), § E.220.4; 2015, No. 97 (Adj. Sess.), § 82.)

  • § 2365a. Search and rescue training

    A person shall receive search and rescue training approved by the Vermont Criminal Justice Council and the Vermont Search and Rescue Council as part of basic training in order to become certified as a law enforcement officer. (Added 2013, No. 26, § 2, eff. May 13, 2013.)

  • § 2365b. Animal cruelty response training

    As part of basic training in order to become certified as a Level II and Level III law enforcement officer, a person shall receive a two-hour training module on animal cruelty investigations as approved by the Vermont Criminal Justice Council and the Animal Cruelty Investigation Advisory Board. (Added 2015, No. 155 (Adj. Sess.), § 5, eff. July 1, 2017.)

  • § 2366. Law enforcement agencies; fair and impartial policing policy; race data collection

    (a)(1) On or before March 1, 2018, every State, county, and municipal law enforcement agency and every constable who exercises law enforcement authority pursuant to 24 V.S.A. § 1936a and who is trained in compliance with section 2358 of this title shall adopt a fair and impartial policing policy that includes each component of the Criminal Justice Council's model fair and impartial policing policy. Such agencies and constables may include additional restrictions on agency members' communication and involvement with federal immigration authorities or communications regarding citizenship or immigration status. Agencies and constables may not adopt a policy that allows for greater communication or involvement with federal immigration authorities than is permitted under the model policy.

    (2) On or before January 1 of every even-numbered year, the Criminal Justice Council, in consultation with others, including the Attorney General and the Human Rights Commission, shall review and, if necessary, update the model fair and impartial policing policy. If the policy is updated, the Council, in consultation with the Office of the Attorney General, shall follow the procedure set forth in subsection (b) of this section and shall have six months after January 1 to complete that procedure.

    (b) The Criminal Justice Council, in consultation with the Office of the Attorney General, shall review the policies of law enforcement agencies and constables required to adopt a policy pursuant to subsection (a) of this section, to ensure those policies comply with subdivision (a)(1) of this section. If the Council, in consultation with the Office of the Attorney General, finds that a policy does not comply with subdivision (a)(1) of this section, it shall work with the law enforcement agency or constable to bring the policy into compliance. If, after consultation with the Council and the Office of the Attorney General, the law enforcement agency or constable fails to adopt a policy that complies with subdivision (a)(1) of this section on or before July 1, 2019, that agency or constable shall be deemed to have adopted, and shall follow and enforce, the model policy issued by the Council. A finding of compliance with subdivision (a)(1) shall not constitute a finding of compliance with any other applicable law.

    (c) Annually, as part of their annual training report to the Council, every State, county, and municipal law enforcement agency and every constable who exercises law enforcement authority pursuant to 24 V.S.A. § 1936a and who is trained in compliance with section 2358 of this title shall report to the Council whether the agency or officer has adopted a fair and impartial policing policy in accordance with subsections (a) and (b) of this section. The Criminal Justice Council shall determine, as part of the Council's annual certification of training requirements, whether current officers have received training on fair and impartial policing as required by 20 V.S.A. § 2358(e).

    (d) Annually, on or before July 1, the Criminal Justice Council shall report to the House and Senate Committees on Judiciary regarding which departments and officers have adopted a fair and impartial policing policy and whether officers have received training on fair and impartial policing.

    (e)(1) On or before September 1, 2014, every State, county, and municipal law enforcement agency shall collect roadside stop data consisting of the following:

    (A) the age, gender, and race of the driver;

    (B) the grounds for the stop;

    (C) the grounds for the search and the type of search conducted, if any;

    (D) the evidence located, if any;

    (E) the outcome of the stop, including whether physical force was employed or threatened during the stop, and if so, the type of force employed and whether the force resulted in bodily injury or death, and whether:

    (i) a written warning was issued;

    (ii) a citation for a civil violation was issued;

    (iii) a citation or arrest for a misdemeanor or a felony occurred; or

    (iv) no subsequent action was taken.

    (2) Law enforcement agencies shall work with the Executive Director of Racial Equity, the Criminal Justice Council, and a vendor chosen by the Council with the goals of collecting uniform data, adopting uniform storage methods and periods, and ensuring that data can be analyzed. Roadside stop data, as well as reports and analysis of roadside stop data, shall be public.

    (3) On or before September 1, 2016 and annually thereafter, law enforcement agencies shall provide the data collected under this subsection to the Executive Director of Racial Equity and the vendor chosen by the Criminal Justice Council under subdivision (2) of this subsection or, in the event the vendor is unable to continue receiving data under this section, to the Council. Law enforcement agencies shall provide the data collected under this subsection in an electronic format specified by the receiving entity.

    (4) The data provided pursuant to subdivision (3) of this subsection shall be posted electronically in a manner that is analyzable and accessible to the public on the receiving agency's website and clear and understandable. The receiving agency shall also report the data annually to the General Assembly.

    (5) As used in this subsection, "physical force" shall refer to the force employed by a law enforcement officer to compel a person's compliance with the officer's instructions that constitutes a greater amount of force than handcuffing a compliant person.

    (f) Nothing in this section is intended to prohibit or impede any public agency from complying with the lawful requirements of 8 U.S.C. §§ 1373 and 1644. To the extent any State or local law enforcement policy or practice conflicts with the lawful requirements of 8 U.S.C. §§ 1373 and 1644, that policy or practice is, to the extent of the conflict, abolished. (Added 2011, No. 134 (Adj. Sess.), § 2; amended 2013, No. 193 (Adj. Sess.), § 3, eff. June 17, 2014; 2015, No. 147 (Adj. Sess.), § 26, eff. May 31, 2016; 2017, No. 54, § 4, eff. May 31, 2017; 2017, No. 54, § 6, eff. March 1, 2018; 2017, No. 113 (Adj. Sess.), § 141; 2019, No. 41, § 1, eff. May 30, 2019; 2019, No. 147 (Adj. Sess.), § 4, eff. July 13, 2020.)

  • § 2367. Statewide policy; electronic control devices; reporting

    (a) As used in this section:

    (1) "Electronic control device" means a device primarily designed to disrupt an individual's central nervous system by means of deploying electrical energy sufficient to cause uncontrolled muscle contractions and override an individual's voluntary motor responses.

    (2) "Law enforcement officer" means a sheriff, deputy sheriff, police officer, Capitol Police officer, State game warden, State Police officer, constable who exercises law enforcement authority pursuant to 24 V.S.A. § 1936a and who is trained in compliance with section 2358 of this title, and a certified law enforcement officer employed by a State branch, agency, or department, including the Department of Motor Vehicles, the Agency of Natural Resources, the Office of the Attorney General, the Department of State's Attorney, the Secretary of State, and the Department of Liquor and Lottery.

    (b) On or before January 1, 2015, the Law Enforcement Advisory Board shall establish a statewide policy on the use of and training requirements for the use of electronic control devices. Prior to any use of or intent to use an electronic control device, every State, county, municipal, or other law enforcement agency and every constable who is not employed by a law enforcement agency shall adopt this policy. If a law enforcement agency or officer was required to adopt a policy pursuant to this subsection but failed to do so on or before January 1, 2016, that agency or officer shall be deemed to have adopted, and shall follow and enforce, the model policy established by the Law Enforcement Advisory Board. The policy shall include the following provisions:

    (1) Electronic control devices are less-lethal, but not necessarily nonlethal, alternatives to lethal force.

    (2) Officers may deploy an electronic control device only:

    (A) against subjects who are exhibiting active aggression or who are actively resisting in a manner that, in the officer's judgment, is likely to result in injuries to others or themselves; or

    (B) if, without further action or intervention by the officer, injuries to the subject or others will likely occur.

    (3) Neither an officer, a subject, or a third party has actually to suffer an injury before an officer is permitted to use an electronic control device, and officers are not required to use alternatives that increase the danger to the public or themselves.

    (4) When it is safe to do so, officers shall attempt to de-escalate situations and shall provide a warning prior to deploying an electronic control device.

    (5) Electronic control devices shall not be used in a punitive or coercive manner and shall not be used to awaken, escort, or gain compliance from passively resisting subjects. The act of fleeing or of destroying evidence, in and of itself, does not justify the use of an electronic control device.

    (6) The use of electronic control devices shall comply with all recommendations by manufacturers for the reduction of risk of injury to subjects, including situations where a subject's physical susceptibilities are known.

    (7) Electronic control devices shall be used in a manner that recognizes the potential additional risks that can result from situations:

    (A) involving persons who are in an emotional crisis that may interfere with their ability to understand the consequences of their actions or to follow directions;

    (B) involving persons with disabilities whose disability may impact their ability to communicate with an officer, or respond to an officer's directions; and

    (C) involving higher risk populations that may be more susceptible to injury as a result of electronic control devices.

    (8) Electronic control devices shall not be used on animals unless necessary to deter vicious or aggressive behavior that threatens the safety of officers or others.

    (c) The Criminal Justice Council shall adopt rules and develop training to ensure that the policies and standards of this section are met. The Criminal Justice Council shall ensure that a law enforcement officer receives appropriate and sufficient training before becoming authorized to carry or use an electronic control device.

    (d) On or before June 30, 2017, every State, county, municipal, or other law enforcement agency that employs one or more certified law enforcement officers shall ensure that all officers have completed the training established in 2004 Acts and Resolves No. 80, Sec. 13(a), and every constable who is not employed by a law enforcement agency shall have completed this training.

    (e) The Criminal Justice Council shall coordinate training initiatives with the Department of Mental Health related to law enforcement interventions, training for joint law enforcement and mental health crisis team responses, and enhanced capacity for mental health emergency responses.

    (f) Every State, county, municipal, or other law enforcement agency and every constable who is not employed by a law enforcement agency shall report all incidents involving the use of an electronic control device to the Criminal Justice Council in a form to be determined by the Council.

    (g) The Law Enforcement Advisory Board shall:

    (1) study and make recommendations as to whether officers authorized to carry electronic control devices should be required to wear body cameras; and

    (2) establish a policy on the calibration and testing of electronic control devices.

    (3), (4) [Repealed.]  (Added 2013, No. 180 (Adj. Sess.), § 1, eff. June 10, 2014; amended 2015, No. 118 (Adj. Sess.), § 5, eff. May 23, 2016; 2019, No. 73, § 32.)

  •  [Section 2368 effective July 1, 2021.]

    § 2368. Standards for law enforcement use of force

    (a) Definitions. As used in this section:

    (1) "Deadly force" means any use of force that creates a substantial risk of causing death or serious bodily injury.

    (2) "Force" means the physical coercion employed by a law enforcement officer to compel a person's compliance with the officer's instructions.

    (3) "Imminent threat of death or serious bodily injury" means when, based on the totality of the circumstances, a reasonable officer in the same situation would believe that a person has the present ability, opportunity, and apparent intent to immediately cause death or serious bodily injury to the law enforcement officer or another person. An imminent threat is not merely a fear of future harm, no matter how great the fear and no matter how great the likelihood of the harm, but is one that, from appearances, must be immediately addressed and confronted.

    (4) "Law enforcement officer" shall have the same meaning as in section 2351a of this chapter.

    (5) "Prohibited restraint" means the use of any maneuver on a person that applies pressure to the neck, throat, windpipe, or carotid artery that may prevent or hinder breathing, reduce intake of air, or impede the flow of blood or oxygen to the brain.

    (6) "Totality of the circumstances" means the conduct and decisions of the law enforcement officer leading up to the use of force and all facts known to the law enforcement officer at the time.

    (b) Use of force.

    (1) The authority of law enforcement to use physical force is a serious responsibility that shall be exercised judiciously and with respect for human rights and dignity and for the sanctity of every human life. Every person has a right to be free from excessive use of force by officers acting under authority of the State.

    (2) A law enforcement officer shall use only the force objectively reasonable, necessary, and proportional to effect an arrest, to prevent escape, or to overcome resistance of a person the officer has reasonable cause to believe has committed a crime or to achieve any other lawful law enforcement objective.

    (3) The decision by a law enforcement officer to use force shall be evaluated carefully and thoroughly, in a manner that reflects the gravity of that authority and the serious consequences of the use of force by law enforcement officers, in order to ensure that officers use force consistent with law and with agency policies.

    (4) Whether the decision by a law enforcement officer to use force was objectively reasonable shall be evaluated from the perspective of a reasonable officer in the same situation, based on the totality of the circumstances. A law enforcement officer's failure to use feasible and reasonable alternatives to force shall be a consideration for whether its use was objectively reasonable.

    (5) When a law enforcement officer knows that a subject's conduct is the result of a medical condition, mental impairment, developmental disability, physical limitation, language barrier, drug or alcohol impairment, or other factor beyond the subject's control, the officer shall take that information into account in determining the amount of force appropriate to use on the subject, if any.

    (6) A law enforcement officer who makes or attempts to make an arrest need not retreat or desist from his or her efforts by reason of the resistance or threatened resistance of the person being arrested. A law enforcement officer shall not be deemed an aggressor or lose the right to self-defense by the use of proportional force if necessary in compliance with subdivision (b)(2) of this section to effect the arrest or to prevent escape or to overcome resistance. For the purposes of this subdivision, "retreat" does not mean tactical repositioning or other de-escalation tactics.

    (c) Use of deadly force.

    (1) A law enforcement officer is justified in using deadly force upon another person only when, based on the totality of the circumstances, such force is objectively reasonable and necessary to:

    (A) defend against an imminent threat of death or serious bodily injury to the officer or to another person; or

    (B) apprehend a fleeing person for any felony that threatened or resulted in death or serious bodily injury if the officer reasonably believes that the person will cause death or serious bodily injury to another unless immediately apprehended.

    (2) The use of deadly force is necessary when, given the totality of the circumstances, an objectively reasonable law enforcement officer in the same situation would conclude that there was no reasonable alternative to the use of deadly force that would prevent death or serious bodily injury to the officer or to another person.

    (3) A law enforcement officer shall cease the use of deadly force as soon as the subject is under the officer's control or no longer poses an imminent threat of death or serious bodily injury to the officer or to another person.

    (4) A law enforcement officer shall not use deadly force against a person based on the danger that person poses to himself or herself, if an objectively reasonable officer would believe the person does not pose an imminent threat of death or serious bodily injury to the law enforcement officer or to another person.

    (5) When feasible, a law enforcement officer shall, prior to the use of force, make reasonable efforts to identify himself or herself as a law enforcement officer and to warn that deadly force may be used.

    (6) A law enforcement officer has a duty to intervene when the officer observes another officer using a prohibited restraint on a person. (Added 2019, No. 165 (Adj. Sess.), § 1, eff. July 1, 2021.)

  • § 2369. Statewide policy; required use of body camera policy

    (a)(1) On and after January 1, 2022, each law enforcement agency that authorizes its law enforcement officers to use body cameras shall adopt, follow, and enforce a model body camera policy established by the Council, and each law enforcement officer who uses a body camera shall comply with the provisions of that policy.

    (2) Until the date set forth in subdivision (1) of this subsection, each law enforcement agency that authorizes its law enforcement officers to use body cameras shall adopt, follow, and enforce the Model Body Worn Camera (BWC) Policy established by the Law Enforcement Advisory Board pursuant to 2016 Acts and Resolves No. 163, and each law enforcement officer who uses a body camera shall comply with the provisions of that policy.

    (b) The Council shall incorporate the provisions of this section into training it provides. (Added 2019, No. 166 (Adj. Sess.), § 13, eff. Oct. 1, 2020.)


  • Subchapter 002: Unprofessional Conduct
  • § 2401. Definitions

    As used in this subchapter:

    (1) "Category A conduct" means:

    (A) A felony.

    (B) A misdemeanor that is committed while on duty and did not involve the legitimate performance of duty.

    (C) Any of the following misdemeanors, if committed off duty:

    (i) simple assault, second offense;

    (ii) domestic assault;

    (iii) false reports and statements;

    (iv) driving under the influence, second offense;

    (v) violation of a relief from abuse order or of a condition of release;

    (vi) stalking;

    (vii) false pretenses;

    (viii) voyeurism;

    (ix) prostitution or soliciting prostitution;

    (x) distribution of a regulated substance;

    (xi) simple assault on a law enforcement officer; or

    (xii) possession of a regulated substance, second offense.

    (2) "Category B conduct" means gross professional misconduct amounting to actions on duty or under authority of the State, or both, that involve willful failure to comply with a State-required policy or substantial deviation from professional conduct as defined by the law enforcement agency's policy or if not defined by the agency's policy, then as defined by Council policy, and shall include:

    (A) sexual harassment involving physical contact or misuse of position;

    (B) misuse of official position for personal or economic gain;

    (C) excessive use of force under authority of the State, first offense;

    (D) biased enforcement;

    (E) use of electronic criminal records database for personal, political, or economic gain;

    (F) placing a person in a prohibited restraint;

    (G) failing to intervene and report to a supervisor when the officer observes another officer placing a person in a prohibited restraint or using excessive force.

    (3) "Category C conduct" means any allegation of misconduct pertaining to Council processes or operations, including:

    (A) intentionally exceeding the scope of practice for an officer's certification level;

    (B) knowingly making material false statements or reports to the Council;

    (C) falsification of Council documents;

    (D) intentional interference with Council investigations, including intimidation of witnesses or misrepresentations of material facts;

    (E) material false statements about certification status to a law enforcement agency;

    (F) knowing employment of an individual in a position or for duties for which the individual lacks proper certification;

    (G) intentional failure to conduct a valid investigation or file a report as required by this subchapter; or

    (H) failure to complete annual in-service training requirements.

    (4) "Effective internal affairs program" means that a law enforcement agency does all of the following:

    (A) Complaints. Accepts complaints against its law enforcement officers from any source.

    (B) Investigators. Assigns an investigator to determine whether an officer violated an agency rule or policy or State or federal law.

    (C) Policies. Has language in its policies or applicable collective bargaining agreement that outlines for its officers expectations of employment or prohibited activity, or both, and provides due process rights for its officers in its policies. These policies shall establish a code of conduct and a corresponding range of discipline.

    (D) Fairness in discipline. Treats its accused officers fairly, and decides officer discipline based on just cause, a set range of discipline for offenses, consideration of mitigating and aggravating circumstances, and its policies' due process rights.

    (E) Civilian review. Provides for review of officer discipline by civilians, which may be a selectboard or other elected or appointed body, at least for the conduct required to be reported to the Council under this subchapter.

    (5) "Unprofessional conduct" means Category A, B, or C conduct.

    (6)(A) "Valid investigation" means an investigation conducted pursuant to a law enforcement agency's established or accepted procedures.

    (B) An investigation shall not be valid if:

    (i) the agency has not adopted an effective internal affairs program;

    (ii) the agency refuses, without any legitimate basis, to conduct an investigation;

    (iii) the agency intentionally did not report allegations to the Council as required;

    (iv) the agency attempts to cover up the misconduct or takes an action intended to discourage or intimidate a complainant; or

    (v) the agency's executive officer is the officer accused of misconduct.

    (7) "Prohibited restraint" means the use of any maneuver on a person that applies pressure to the neck, throat, windpipe, or carotid artery that may prevent or hinder breathing, reduce intake of air, or impede the flow of blood or oxygen to the brain. (Added 2017, No. 56, § 1, eff. July 1, 2018; amended 2019, No. 147 (Adj. Sess.), § 5, eff. Sept. 1, 2020.)

  • § 2402. Law enforcement agencies; duty to adopt an effective internal affairs program

    (a) Each law enforcement agency shall adopt an effective internal affairs program in order to manage complaints regarding the agency's law enforcement officers.

    (b) The Council shall create an effective internal affairs program model policy that may be used by law enforcement agencies to meet the requirements of this section. (Added 2017, No. 56, § 1, eff. July 1, 2018.)

  • § 2403. Law enforcement agencies; duty to report

    (a)(1) The executive officer of a law enforcement agency or the chair of the agency's civilian review board shall report to the Council within 10 business days if any of the following occur in regard to a law enforcement officer of the agency:

    (A) Category A.

    (i) There is a finding of probable cause by a court that the officer committed Category A conduct.

    (ii) There is any decision or findings of fact or verdict regarding allegations that the officer committed Category A conduct, including a judicial decision and any appeal therefrom.

    (B) Category B.

    (i) The agency receives a credible complaint against the officer that alleges that the officer committed Category B conduct.

    (ii) The agency receives or issues any of the following:

    (I) a report or findings of a valid investigation finding that the officer committed Category B conduct; or

    (II) any decision or findings, including findings of fact or verdict, regarding allegations that the officer committed Category B conduct, including a hearing officer decision, arbitration, administrative decision, or judicial decision, and any appeal therefrom.

    (C) Termination. The agency terminates the officer for Category A or Category B conduct.

    (D) Resignation. The officer resigns from the agency while under investigation for unprofessional conduct.

    (2) As part of his or her report, the executive officer of the agency or the chair of the civilian review board shall provide to the Council a copy of any relevant documents associated with the report, including any findings, decision, and the agency's investigative report.

    (b) The Council shall provide a copy of any report and the relevant documents provided with it to the Council Advisory Committee, which shall recommend any appropriate action to take in regard to a law enforcement officer who is the subject of that report.

    (c) The Executive Director of the Council shall report to the Attorney General and the State's Attorney of jurisdiction any allegations that an officer committed Category A conduct. (Added 2017, No. 56, § 1, eff. July 1, 2018; amended 2019, No. 166 (Adj. Sess.), § 15, eff. Oct. 1, 2020.)

  • § 2404. Investigations

    (a) Agency investigations of Category A and B conduct.

    (1)(A) Each law enforcement agency shall conduct a valid investigation of any complaint alleging that a law enforcement officer employed by the agency committed Category A or Category B conduct. An agency shall conclude its investigation even if the officer resigns from the agency during the course of the investigation.

    (B) Notwithstanding the provisions of subdivision (A) of this subdivision (1), a law enforcement agency shall refer to the Council any unprofessional conduct complaints made against a law enforcement officer who is the executive officer of that agency.

    (2)(A) The Council shall accept from any source complaints alleging a law enforcement officer committed unprofessional conduct and, if the Executive Director of the Council deems such a complaint credible, he or she shall refer any complaints regarding Category A or Category B conduct to the executive officer of the agency who employs that officer, and that agency shall conduct a valid investigation.

    (B) Notwithstanding the provisions of subdivision (A) of this subdivision (2), the Council shall cause to be conducted an alternate course of investigation if the allegation is in regard to a law enforcement officer who is the executive officer of the agency.

    (b) Exception to an agency's valid investigation. Notwithstanding a law enforcement agency's valid investigation of a complaint, the Council may investigate that complaint or cause the complaint to be investigated if the officer resigned before a valid investigation had begun or was completed.

    (c) Council investigations of Category C conduct. The Council shall investigate allegations of Category C conduct. (Added 2017, No. 56, § 1, eff. July 1, 2018.)

  • § 2405. Council sanction procedure

    Except as otherwise provided in this subchapter, the Council shall conduct its proceedings in accordance with the Vermont Administrative Procedure Act. This includes the ability to summarily suspend the certification of a law enforcement officer in accordance with 3 V.S.A. § 814(c). (Added 2017, No. 56, § 1, eff. July 1, 2018.)

  • § 2406. Permitted Council sanctions

    (a) Generally. The Council may impose any of the following sanctions on a law enforcement officer's certification upon its finding that a law enforcement officer committed unprofessional conduct:

    (1) written warning;

    (2) suspension, but to run concurrently with the length and time of any suspension imposed by a law enforcement agency with an effective internal affairs program, which shall amount to suspension for time already served if an officer has already served a suspension imposed by his or her agency with such a program;

    (3) revocation, with the option of recertification at the discretion of the Council; or

    (4) permanent revocation.

    (b) Intended revocation; temporary voluntary surrender.

    (1)(A) If, after an evidentiary hearing, the Council intends to revoke a law enforcement officer's certification due to its finding that the officer committed unprofessional conduct, the Council shall issue a decision to that effect.

    (B) Within 10 business days from the date of that decision, such an officer may voluntarily surrender his or her certification if there is a pending labor proceeding related to the Council's unprofessional conduct findings.

    (C) A voluntary surrender of an officer's certification shall remain in effect until the labor proceeding and all appeals are finally adjudicated or until the officer requests a final sanction hearing, whichever occurs first, and thereafter until the Council's final sanction hearing on the matter. At that hearing, the Council may modify its findings and decision on the basis of additional evidence, but shall not be bound by any outcome of the labor proceeding.

    (2) If an officer fails to voluntarily surrender his or her certification in accordance with subdivision (1) of this subsection, the Council's original findings and decision shall take effect. (Added 2017, No. 56, § 1, eff. July 1, 2018.)

  • § 2407. Limitation on Council sanctions; first offense of Category B conduct

    (a) Category B conduct; first offense. If a law enforcement agency conducts a valid investigation of a complaint alleging that a law enforcement officer committed a first offense of Category B conduct, the Council shall take no action, except that the Council may take action for a first offense under subdivision 2401(2)(C) (excessive use of force under authority of the State), 2401(2)(F) (placing a person in a prohibited restraint), or 2401(2)(G) (failing to intervene and report to a supervisor when an officer observes another officer placing a person in a prohibited restraint or using excessive force) of this chapter.

    (b) "Offense" defined. As used in this section, an "offense" means any offense committed by a law enforcement officer during the course of his or her certification, and includes any offenses committed during employment at a previous law enforcement agency. (Added 2017, No. 56, § 1, eff. July 1, 2018; amended 2019, No. 147 (Adj. Sess.), § 5, eff. Sept. 1, 2020.)

  • § 2408. Invalid investigations

    Nothing in this subchapter shall prohibit the Council from causing a complaint to be investigated or taking disciplinary action on an officer's certification if the Council determines that a law enforcement agency's investigation of the officer's conduct did not constitute a valid investigation. (Added 2017, No. 56, § 1, eff. July 1, 2018.)

  • § 2409. Accessibility and confidentiality

    (a) It is the purpose of this section both to protect the reputation of law enforcement officers from public disclosure of unwarranted complaints against them and to fulfill the public's right to know of any action taken against a law enforcement officer when that action is based on a determination of unprofessional conduct.

    (b) All meetings and hearings of the Council shall be subject to the Open Meeting Law.

    (c) The Executive Director of the Council shall prepare and maintain a register of all complaints, which shall be open to public inspection and copying, except as may be exempt under the Public Records Act, and which shall show:

    (1) with respect to any complaint, the following information:

    (A) the date and the nature of the complaint, but not including the identity of the law enforcement officer; and

    (B) a summary of the completed investigation; and

    (2) only with respect to a complaint resulting in filing of charges or stipulations or the taking of disciplinary action, the following additional information:

    (A) the name and business addresses of the law enforcement officer;

    (B) formal charges, provided that they have been served or a reasonable effort to serve them has been made;

    (C) the findings, conclusions, and order of the Council;

    (D) the transcript of the hearing, if one has been made, and exhibits admitted at the hearing;

    (E) any stipulation filed with the Council; and

    (F) any final disposition of the matter by the Vermont Supreme Court.

    (d) The Council, its hearing officer, and Council staff shall keep confidential any other information regarding unprofessional conduct complaints, investigations, proceedings, and related records except the information required or permitted to be released under this section.

    (e) A law enforcement officer charged with unprofessional conduct shall have the right to inspect and copy the investigation file that results in the charges against him or her, except for any attorney work product or other privileged information.

    (f) Nothing in this section shall prohibit the disclosure of any information regarding unprofessional conduct complaints pursuant to an order from a court of competent jurisdiction, or to a State or federal law enforcement agency in the course of its investigation, provided the agency agrees to maintain the confidentiality of the information as provided in subsection (d) of this section. (Added 2017, No. 56, § 1, eff. July 1, 2018.)

  • § 2410. Council Advisory Committee

    (a) Creation. There is created the Council Advisory Committee to provide advice to the Council regarding its duties under this subchapter.

    (1) The Committee shall specifically advise and assist the Council in developing procedures to ensure that allegations of unprofessional conduct by law enforcement officers are investigated fully and fairly, and to ensure that appropriate action is taken in regard to those allegations.

    (2) The Committee shall be advisory only and shall not have any decision-making authority.

    (b) Membership. The Committee shall be composed of five individuals appointed by the Governor. The Governor may solicit recommendations for appointments from the Chair of the Council.

    (1) Four of these members shall be public members who during incumbency shall not serve and shall have never served as a law enforcement officer or corrections officer and shall not have an immediate family member who is serving or has ever served as either of those officers.

    (2) One of these members shall be a retired law enforcement officer.

    (c) Assistance. The Executive Director of the Council or designee shall attend Committee meetings as a resource for the Committee.

    (d) Reimbursement. Members of the Committee who are not employees of the State of Vermont and who are not otherwise compensated or reimbursed for their attendance shall be entitled to per diem compensation and reimbursement of expenses pursuant to 32 V.S.A. § 1010 for not more than five meetings per year. Such payments shall be derived from the budget of the Council. (Added 2017, No. 56, § 1, eff. July 1, 2018.)

  • § 2411. Council rules

    The Council may adopt rules to implement the provisions of this subchapter. (Added 2017, No. 56, § 1, eff. July 1, 2018.)